INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Teachers in Indiana work hard. It’s one of the biggest understatements you can say but every year some districts see a drop in teacher retention, stagnating salaries and wonderful educators leaving the calling to use their skills in another industry.
Thursday on Daybreak, reporter Brenna Donnelly sought to honor one excellent local teacher for being exactly that, an excellent, treasured teacher.
She didn’t have to travel far; she found Mrs. Kerri Carter in a first-grade classroom inside Douglas McArthur Elementary School in Perry Township.
“Mrs. Carter is all heart for the kids,” said fellow first-grade teacher Angie Merder. “She is loving. She cares about them as a person.”
Our news crew went to Douglas McArthur Elementary to learn what we could about Mrs. Carter without her knowing. We met with her class in the library and got to hear from fellow teachers and students about what makes Mrs. Carter such an impactful teacher.
“I just want to read this to Mrs. Carter,” said Adrian, one of her students, as he held a hand-written nomination letter in his hands. “Mrs. Carter is the best.”
“First she helps me,” said another student, reading off her paper.
“She is nice and she helps me with math,” smiled another.
“I think Mrs. Carter is a nice teacher,” another echoed.
“She always makes every day good,” said a student.
“She wears pretty dresses,” said a boy with his nose pressed to his letter.
“I like the mistakes she makes and my class laughs,” grinned Adrian.
Merder says the proof of Mrs. Carter’s diligence with the students is evident in their love not only for her, but for learning. She says that requires a lot on the part of Mrs. Carter.
“Patience. Some ability to get down on their level,” she said. “and just developing their personality traits. Good morals and values and trying to model those so these 6-year-olds can mimic them.”
We gathered all the video clips of students and prepared to surprise Mrs. Carter in class a few days later.
“Is this Mrs. Carter’s class? First grade? At Douglas McArthur Elementary?” Brenna Donnelly asked, walking in the classroom with two cameras rolling.
Mrs. Carter looked dumbfounded but replied that it was. Brenna pointed at the group of eager students.
“They wanted to honor you as a great teacher on the news today, so we wanted to surprise you and let you know how much they love you, and how much we appreciate all that you’re doing for first-grade students,” Brenna said. “But we have another surprise for you.”
Our team sat Mrs. Carter down and played the video of student letters, and as the students cheered, grinned, and spoke her praises, she became emotional
“‘I’m very overwhelmed. I’m very touched. That kind of brings it all together of why I do this,” Mrs. Carter said. “It’s just made my world.”
The school’s principal, Star Hardimon, said Mrs. Carter deserves every ounce of this recognition.
“Year after year I have kids wanting to come back to the school and see her,” she said, noting a difference in students who have been through her classroom. “They’re very confident, they care about others and are so compassionate with each other.”
As an exceptional teacher with 29 years of experience in first grade, we gave Mrs. Carter an opportunity to share advice or encouragement to her fellow teachers. She advised balance in your life, but an undying pursuit to do what’s in your soul.
“After retirement, I will find other avenues to touch lives. It’s just something that was instilled in me. Both my parents were educators and so I, that’s just what I’ve seen. That’s just my calling as well,” she said through tears.
We honor your Mrs. Kerri Carter, and thank you for your service and love for the students of Perry Township.
If you want to honor a teacher as one of WISH-TV’s Treasured Teachers, email Brenna Donnelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or tell her about your nomination on Facebook.